Iran’s navy has dispatched warships on a mission to the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in history, an Iranian news agency said.
The flotilla, consisting of a Khark logistic and helicopter-carrier warship and Sabalan destroyer, could journey as much as 25,000 nautical kilometers in the next three months, Fars News reported Tuesday.
No specific military mission was identified, and no ports of call were mentioned.
Bidding farewell to the crews, Rear Admiral Seyyed Mahmoud Moussavi said Iran has a message of peace and friendship for the nations of the world and only seeks to display its defensive power capabilities.
But previous statements by high-ranking Iranian naval personnel had declared Iran’s intention to dispatch a next flotilla of warships to the high seas at around this date to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirate attacks.
According to navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, “The navy’s next flotilla will be dispatched to either the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic on January 21 February 20.” He underlined that the flotilla will pass through the Mediterranean Sea to reach the Atlantic Ocean.
Since November 2008, the Iranian navy has been operating anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden, after Somali buccaneers hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.
The Gulf of Aden which links the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal is a critical energy corridor and the primary route for Persian Gulf oil shipped to Western markets.